It was a routine doctor's visit that proved to deliver incredibly bad news. Becee Smith-Kujawa, a singer/songwriter and Oconomowoc resident, saw her physician for a nagging cough that resulted in the discovery of three masses in her lungs. A non-smoker, she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in early June.
Now, three months into her treatment, her friends, family and the Oconomowoc community are coming together for the "Love for Life Benefit" on Aug. 23.
An all day event, "Love for Life Benefit" activities include a softball tournament, kid's activities like a Hannah Montana Hoe Down workshop, silent auction and live auction.
""Love for Life" was the vision of Keith Pulvermacher, a local musician, friend and former bandmate of Beccee's. After he found out that Beccee had been diagnosed with cancer, he started the ball rolling; reaching out to his contacts and seeking support for a benefit to raise money to help Beccee and her family," says Cari Cody, benefit organizer and friend of Smith-Kujawa.
The "Oconomowoc Idol" contest operates the same as the beloved "American Idol," with talent groups for 1-11 years old kids and 12 to 17 year old teens. The winner of the teen "Idol" talent will get the opportunity to sing an opening song for the Love Monkeys performance.
"Beccee doesn't listen to the statistics. She has made it clear from the beginning she is a fighter and is going to beat her stage III lung cancer. Her optimistic attitude is contagious. She's chosen life. She's a wife, a daughter, a mother, a musician, an active member of the Crosspoint Community Church as well as a volunteer for many charitable organizations," Cody explains.
And like any good festival, the park will be plentiful with tasty eats and local music. Food vendors include a pig roast and full barbeque with hot dogs, brats and burgers. Live music runs throughout the day with performances by Keith Pulvermacher and Micheal Sean, The Rhythm Kings, the Eddie Butts Band and the Love Monkeys.
"There is no admission to the "Love for Life" event; 100% of the proceeds from the event will go directly to the Beccee Smith-Kujawa fund," Cody explains.
To add personality to a plethora of activity, Marilynn Mee of 96.5 WKLH will be the MC of the event.
"There should be an awareness for paying it forward and helping those in our community that need our help. We don't plan on ending our awareness with the "Love for Life Benefit"; future events are already in the works. Our wish is that down the road Beccee will be cancer free and we will be able to use our resources to help another member of the community who needs our help," Cody explains.
The "Love for Life Benefit" takes place Aug. 23 at Roosevelt Field and Park, 700 S. Main St., in Oconomowoc.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.
After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined OnMilwaukee.com as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.
Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.